By Khumbulani Muleya
Ambassador Thomas Bvuma has launched a book — The Chosen Generation — his first literary work.
The book, set in the Zimbabwe liberation struggle of the 1970s and the independence period up to 2008, was launched last month at the Liberation City located at the site of the Museum of African Liberation opposite Warren Park 1 suburb in Harare.
Bvuma is a career diplomat and has worked in Mozambique, United Kingdom, the United States and as Zimbabwe’s first ambassador to Brazil.
The book is a historical fiction whose author metamorphosed into a guerrilla fighter and again metamorphosed into a writer. The protagonist is one Masara Musamba, who runs away from Umtali (now Mutare) after beating up his white employer, John Bulloch, who had scolded and called him a worthless baboon.
He flees into the mountains where he resolves to go to neighbouring Mozambique and train as a guerrilla fighter. After getting to the desolate and miserable Chibabawa refugee camp, he joins other guerrilla aspirants and adopts the nome de guerre “Nyika Yababa” (Fatherland).
Author and academic Musaemura Zimunya delivered the keynote speech at the book launch who set a nostalgic tone as he narrated how they generated a poetry momentum post-Independence by making a call for submissions for a poetry collection that titled And Now the Poet Speaks (1981) of which Bvuma, using the pen name Carlos Chombo, was also a contributor. The anthology, edited by Musaemura Zimunya and Mudereri Khadhani, featured contributors such as Violet Moyo, Edson Zvobgo, Phathisa Nyathi, John Gambanga, as well as 21 other writers, including Khadhani and Zimunya themselves.
Speaking during his book launch, Bvuma explained the importance of literature at the front. He said “as commander, the most important thing beyond your gun was a notebook, these notebooks where precious so much that if you were killed it was the duty of the other comrades to pick it up and pass it on”.
During the book reading session, the first excerpt was read by writer Memory Chirere, one of Africa’s renowned literary critics and reviewers, while the second excerpt was read entirely in Shona by Dr Ignatius Mabasa, prompting invitees who included Professor Pfukwa and Librarian Antonetta Hwacha to propose that Mabasa should consider translating the book into Shona.
Attendees included politicians and students, writers and personalities from academia, including former Harare mayor Ben Manyenyeni and executive dean Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Bindura University Professor Pfukwa.